Fr Jonathan Munn of our Diocese has just written Katholicism, Kripkean Dogmatism and ExKommunication. It is almost a case of telepathy as I was so tempted to react to a recent sanctimonious posting by Fr Zuhlsdorf on excommunication and hell. Indeed, it is the ultimate device for exercising totalitarian control over whole populations. I left Fr Z be, since nothing would change anything.
This article is not about the Klu Klux Klan but about other political and religious ideologies. The use of three K’s is, all the same, no coincidence. I always have doubts about those with absolute certitudes about anything. I grew up a sceptic, and faith has always come to me with difficulty. I have come to live with my doubts, and I seek by means of both reason and prayer to deepen my faith in God and Christ. How can a priest have doubts and set the example for his flock? It is perhaps exactly there that our gaps in perception of truth enable us to have compassion, empathy and tolerance to others who also doubt – or who have even rejected belief altogether.
Tolerance and truth? The old subject comes up again and again, and we are confronted by the heart-rending news from the Middle-East about genocide and persecution against Christians in Iraq and Syria, and the continuing war between Israelis and Palestinians. I was recently upbraided by a young man on account of my devotion to tolerance – who himself has written something that might almost have come from Mein Kampf had it been written in German! Passons…
Can there be a reconciliation between faith and reason, truth and tolerance? It is unfortunate that we live the see the fruits of the tree – empty rotting churches and the continuing narrative of secularism and atheism. Perhaps truth and faith need to be placed at a level above human understanding. We cannot reject truth, but we still have to learn to tolerate and love so that someone might perceive Christ in us, and therefore experience truth at first hand.
This way of thinking does pose problems for us Christians who do insist on certain principles and doctrinal teachings.
Fr Munn comes up with a lot of good sense and fidelity to Catholic Tradition as our guide in both dogmatic and moral teachings. We may have to tolerate a church that ordains women, even though we as Anglican Catholics are viscerally opposed for doctrinal and sacramental reasons. We can’t say they are right, but we can refrain from hating them.
Kripkean dogmatism is an interesting notion. There are some interesting links on the subject:
– among many other obtained by using search engines.
Christianity seems simply to be going through a crisis, not of faith or authority, but credibility in the face of sincere thought and criticism. How can we answer that question?